GARDAI HAVE shut down plans for an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin’s Phoenix Park this weekend.
Officers were stationed at the North Circular Road and Parkgate Street entrances to the park amid reports unsuccessful presidential, European election, and general election candidate Gemma O’Doherty was planning on holding a gathering there at 2pm this Saturday, May 2.
O’Doherty and John Waters have already made headlines in Ireland after launching a High Court case against the Irish State over the decision to implement the current lockdown restrictions.
The protest was planned as part of the #MarchForFreedom movement originating out of the US, where people have been gathering en masse to protest the severe social restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Phoenix Park practically empty thanks to a protest by you know who. pic.twitter.com/c7xkJBf0Q7
— Philip Ryan (@Philip_Ryan) May 2, 2020
The Garda officers were on hand to turn unwanted visitors away from the park, while cars attempting to access either of the two guarded entrances were stopped and checked.
Several would-be protestors were also spoken to by Gardai and warned that they were likely breaking the law by being more than two kilometres from their homes.
Officers were also deployed at the nearby Courts of Justice in the event of any gathering spilling over into the building.
Footage of protestors attempting to enter the park was posted on social media.
Gardai look like they are turning back Gemma O’Doherty’s supporters from a planned protest outside the Courts of Justice in Parkgate Street. pic.twitter.com/t9uJGGLJnW
— Ronan McGreevy (@RMcGreevy1301) May 2, 2020
Despite the presence of officers, An Garda Síochána officials were keen to stress that the park was not officially closed.
"The Phoenix Park was not closed; access was available at all times at other gates," they said on Twitter.
Earlier today, in order to ensure compliance with @merrionstreet @HSELive Public Health Guidelines @GardaTraffic temporarily restricted access to the Phoenix Park through the City and NCR gates. The Phoenix Park was not closed; access was available at all times at other gates.
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) May 2, 2020
It comes at the end of a week in which gardaí assistance was required at Four Courts to prevent opponents of the Covid-19 movement restrictions from potentially gaining access to the building.
A group of around 40 protestors gathered at the courts last Tuesday, waving Tricolours and brandishing Constitutions as a show of support for O’Doherty and Mr Waters.
They were eventually dispersed and sent home. No arrests were made.